In the landmark decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy eloquenlty wrote for the majority of the court when he stated that the hope of same sex couples "is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."
The 5-4 decision rested in part on the court’s interpretation of the 14th Amendment which guarantees all Americans equal protection under the law.
The fight for gay marriage in America - a recent timeline
With the passage of a same sex marriage law in New York, (the largest US state to do so), an important watershed moment in America's social history was marked in 2011 which practically doubled the number of people in the US who could legally marry someone of the same sex,
The passage of the New York same sex marriage law followed Massachusetts, Iowa, the District of Columbia, Vermont, and New Hampshire in adopting similar legislation that caused contention among voters in each state in which it is passed.
In 2012, the US gay marriage question made worldwide headlines after finding an advocate in US President Barack Obama, which brought the decades-long debate over same-sex marriage in America to the national level.
As the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was deemed unconstitutional in May of 2012 (by a US Federal Appeals court) legalization of gay marriage from coast to coast appeared to be on the horizon.
In June 2013, the US Supreme Court struck down a provision in the contentious Defense of Marriage Act to allow same sex couples the same benefits as heterosexual couples.
The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defence of Marriage Act that had prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4
The struggle for gay marriage under the law
marked the first time that a national government granted
rights similar to heterosexual couples when Denmark extended
property and inheritance rights for gays
and lesbians under what was known as "registered
Sweden, Iceland and several other EU nations followed suit shortly
after, with their own official recognition of same-sex marriages
or similar arrangements (such as domestic partnerships,
civil partnerships or civil unions.)
The Netherlands was the first country to legalize gay marriage by giving same-sex couples the right to marry, divorce
and adopt children. This led
the way to at least a dozen more countries granting same-sex
couples full rights to marry under the law, most notably in
Canada, Spain, Belgium, Norway and South Africa.
More recently, the United States joined Ireland in making gay marriage the law of the land in 2015.
opposition to gay marriage continues in many other countries as social conservatives express concern over parenting issues, traditional
religious teachings, and the preservation of the idea that
marriage should be exclusively reserved as a union between
a man and a woman.
are same sex marriages legally recognized today?
The Netherlands 2000
South Africa 2006
England / Wales 2013
New Zealand 2013
United States 2015